Sheila Kohler's Five-Pack
The author of The Bay of Foxes selects must-read works that bring the past to life.
Farewell My Queen
by Chantal Thomas
Farewell, My Queen by Chantal Thomas. In this novel, which won the Prix Femina, Chantal Thomas manages to marry stringent research with creative freedom, recreating with uncanny verisimilitude the last days at the court of Versailles. Through the eyes of Agathe-Sidonie, the Queen’s lectrice—she reads aloud and tries to capture her wandering attention—we follow events between 6:00 a.m. on July 14 to midnight on July 16, 1789.
The Blue Flower
by Penelope Fitzgerald
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald. This is the story of the young poet Frederick von Hardenburg, later known as Novalis, and his “heart’s heart” Sophie von Kuhn, with whom he falls in love when she is twelve years old. A deceptively simple novel by an artist who has both the knowledge of the way things were in the Eighteenth Century and the subtlety to convey an emotional truth.
by Joyce Carol Oates
Wild Nights by Joyce Carol Oates. My favorite in these wonderfully original stories about the last days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway is "EDickinson RepliLuxe." Here Emily Dickinson is portrayed as a mannequin empowered by a computer program with her original soul intact but without her heart, blood, her sex organs, or her gastrointestinal system. Though expensive, she is bought by a couple: the Krims, a tax attorney and his wife, who has a reputation for being “active” and “involved” in Golders Green.
by Colm Tóibín
The Master by Colm Tóibín. All the disquiet and drama of a famous life in this intimate portrayal of a writer, written by a writer who is a modern master himself, of the historical novel that Henry James said it was not possible to write.
Hotel de Dream
by Edmund White
Hotel de Dream by Edmund White. A double love story with Stephen Crane, who lies dying, and his wife, Cora, who has been the Madame in a Florida brothel; and a painted boy and his banker lover, who exist only in the novel Stephen Crane never wrote.
Sheila Kohler is the author of nine novels, most recently The Bay of Foxes
(2012), Love Child (2011), and Becoming Jane Eyre (2010), and three collections of short stories. Kohler has been awarded the O.Henry twice, (1988, 2008), the Open Voice Award (1991), the Smart Family Foundation prize (October, 2000) and The Willa Cather Prize, judged by William Gass, for One Girl, and the Antioch Review Prize, 2004. Her work has been translated and published widely abroad by Gallimard, France; Klett-Cotta, Germany; Shinchosa, Japan; Distribuidora Rekord, Brazil; Querido, Holland; Jonathan Cape and Bloomsbury in England, and Penguin India, and will appear in Hungarian, Hebrew, Korean, and Chinese. She has taught creative writing at City College, The Chenango Valley Conference at Colgate, Sarah Lawrence, The New School, Suny Purchase, the West Side YMCA, and in Montolieu, France, and at Columbia University, and Brooklyn College. She now teaches at Princeton and Bennington. Her novel Cracks has been filmed with Jordan Scott as director and Ridley Scott as executive producer and Eva Green playing Miss G.
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